Why Rape Victims Keep Quiet

It’s always interesting to see how people assume rape survivors are lying because they haven’t walked in their shoes.Being a survivor myself, I can get offended. However, I am starting to realize that some people are just ignorant. No matter how many times a survivor tries to explain why they didn’t tell as soon as it happened, some people will never understand. Or should I say they don’t WANT to understand.


We end up in the hot seat and on trial for being sexually abused although we never asked to be abused in the first place. It’s unfair and insensitive. But what should we expect?

I mean, what happened to blaming the person who abused us? If we were never raped or molested then we wouldn’t have a story to tell. But we get the heat. I’m so glad that I stopped leaning on my own understanding because the situation survivors often face after speaking out about their experience is beyond me.

People often ask, “Why didn’t you tell?” And don’t let 10, 20, 30, years pass by. Then we’re hit with, “If you were raped, why did it take you so long to say something about it?” We’re labeled liars off rip just because it took us a long time to mention it.

I didn’t really say much about it until 2010 when I wrote my first book and decided I would do empowerment events for sexual abuse survivors. I guess I woke up one morning and decided that I would lie on eight different people because I was bored that morning. Not!

I want to share a few answers to the questions above. Hopefully, my answers will help you come from amongst the ignorant.

I was scared

I didn’t tell my mom about being abused because I was afraid of getting a beating. The first guy that raped me told me that if I screamed, my mom would beat me. He used something that my mom said before she took her nap to keep me quiet. I believed him. I was quiet since then until I decided I wanted to take on the cause- the cause of speaking out for those who are still quiet.

I was embarrassed

It was so embarrassing for me to open up and talk about what had happened to me. Embarrassment is the reason I never wanted to talk about it in the first place.

I was ashamed

I was that little girl who thought that I would lose my virginity when I got married. But rape happened…and it kept happening. I started to feel bad that I wasn’t allowed to make the choices every girl should be able to make. I wondered what people would say about me if they knew I was no longer a virgin. And I wondered if they would think that I was having sex willfully.

I didn’t want to be blamed

But, I was! At least that’s what it felt like when I finally told my story. My own family wanted me to keep hushed about some of my abusers, as if I had asked them to rape me. It’s ridiculous. I was ALWAYS being interrogated for being raped by a bunch of imbeciles. Go figure!

I thought no one would believe me

It was obvious to me that I was thought a liar when I finally started to tell my story. People would ask others around me, “Do you believe her?” When I hear what people are saying about me “potentially lying” about being raped and molested, I’m always like, “Wait, what?”

It was just altogether hard to talk about.

The older I got, the harder it became. It was a taboo topic and remains so today.

I was never taught what to do

No one ever took the time to teach me about sexual abuse. This is why I wrote “Tell Me Mommy!” I didn’t know the name of what was happening to me until I was older. I knew it wasn’t right and that it made me uncomfortable but that’s all I knew about sexual abuse.

I’m so glad I got over it. I’m glad I didn’t allow those things to keep me quiet. You, along with the rest of the world, need to understand that not everyone will get to a place of releasing it. Some people still struggle with it. Some people don’t want to revisit the pain they will have to face by speaking out.

Then there are those who will speak out but it may take them a day, a year, 25 years, or 50 years. You don’t have to understand it, but the least you can do is respect it.

I hope this post was able to shed some light on why sexual abuse survivors don’t speak out or why it may take a long time to speak out.

If you enjoyed this post or found it to be helpful, free feel to share. And as always, feedback is welcomed. Share your thoughts below.

2 thoughts on “Why Rape Victims Keep Quiet

  1. Brett Beaty

    First off, I would like to thank you for the insight on this issue. It has opened my eyes. I have been ignorant and naive to this topic. My wife claims she was raped 2 months before we got married. I questioned her night and day over and over about it to make sure it was the truth because that is a very serious accusation. I know quite a few innocent men sitting in jail for a crime they didn’t commit; but, I did a lot of investigation on the guy she accuses and he is a known methamphetamine user and I have been told by ones close in his circle that he is crazy and very capable of something of this nature in which there is nothing natural about such a cruel and inhumane act. My wife said she hesitated to tell me because I wouldn’t believe her. And that she did not want me to go to prison for killing the guy who sexually assaulted her. As much as I have questioned and doubted her over the past year, she told me she feels like it’s her fault. She has never came off to me as that kind of girl and I do know he was high on meth at the time and had been awake for 5 days. I love my wife more than life itself. I just don’t know where to start at picking up the pieces.

    1. Shekenya Harris Post author

      Hi Brett!

      Thanks for sharing you and your wife’s story. It’s definitely not her fault. Please just be there for your wife and try to understand if she starts acting differently because of the rape. Support her and encourage her to speak with professional help as rape can effect the victims/survivors severely. No, she’s not crazy for going to speak with professional help to overcome it. It’s a smart thing to do to minimize the effects of rape. I hope that she can overcome this sooner rather than later. Blessings!

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